MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, sidelined since March 2 with a strained right hamstring, said he can make up for missed time by getting at-bats in Minor League games. But Castro has yet to be given the go-ahead to play.
On Wednesday, Castro did not run but did take ground balls and batting practice as he continues to heal from the injury, incurred when he stole second in a game.
"I'm still working in the cage and everything," he said.
On Wednesday, catcher Welington Castillo and outfielder Junior Lake got extra at-bats in the Cubs' Minor League games. Castro said he hopes to join them soon.
The Cubs sent their strength coach, Tim Buss, to the Dominican Republic for three weeks to help the shortstop get in shape, and Castro also spent another four weeks training in Florida. He reported in good shape and at the start of camp predicted he would regain his All-Star form.
"That's still in my mind -- a big year, that's still in my mind," Castro said. "It doesn't go away. It's frustrating because I came here 100 percent and get hurt and that's why I'm frustrated. The good year that I want to have this year, it's not going away, it stays in my mind and I think it'll be a good year."
The Cubs have had Darwin Barney playing shortstop this spring, and he could start there if Castro isn't ready for the season opener March 31. Emilio Bonifacio, a non-roster invitee expected to make the team, could start at second.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.